May. 16th, 2017

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My late stepfather worked for the CIA for many years. Not sweeping the floors, not sitting in an office reading magazine articles and writing reports about their national-security implications (as I would have been doing if I'd gotten that internship), but "real" spy-craft, running spies in foreign countries. He had retired before my mother met him, so his career had little effect on my life, but he brought a very different and well-informed perspective to discussions of global affairs.

One day, in a discussion of security clearances, I asked "Who clears the President?", to which he replied "The President is cleared by the voters on the second Tuesday in November." Then went on to explain that, in practice, if there were a Presidential candidate who couldn't be trusted with classified information or was actually compromised, the intelligence community would find a way to get that fact out to voters, and such a candidate wouldn't get elected.

My stepfather, fortunately, didn't live to see that last sentence proven false.

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hudebnik

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